From a mere trainer, the HAL has upgraded its Hawk jet aircraft into a combat-ready platform. Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley dedicated HAL’s 100th Hawk jet trainer aircraft with a new designation, Hawk-i (Hawk-India) in Bengaluru. He also launched the HAL designed 5.8-ton category Light Combat Helicopter produced by HAL. HAL took up the indigenous role change development program to convert the jet trainer into a Combat-Ready platform. The aircraft is upgraded with indigenously designed avionics hardware, software and system architecture enhancing operational role from a trainer aircraft into a Combat-ready platform. The Hawk-i is equipped with improved quality and depth of training by Large Force Engagement tactics through Electronic Virtual Training System. With the upgrade, Hawk-i is capable of delivering precision Munitions including Air to Ground and close combat weapons, self defence capabilities through Electronic Warfare systems, digital map generator and operational reliability through new Dual Hot stand-by Mission Computer Avionics architecture supported by indigenous high accuracy and high Altitude Radio Altimeter, IFF MKXII, Data Transfer system, CMDS and RWR. Speaking at the launch, Defence MInister Mr Arun Jaitley stressed on the fact that India, considering the geopolitical situation can never compromise on preparedness considering the constant threat. “We have been heavily dependent on the rest of the world for buying, both in terms of equipment and technology. This is ironic because Indians have taken to technology very well. Our ability to throw out people efficient in technology is second to none. Today, from the detailed resume that was given to me, it is clear that we are systematically moving in a direction where we wish to make ourselves a major manufacturing hub, not only for supplying for ourselves but for the rest of the world,” he said. “The Light Combat Helicopter and Hawk-i would provide the country extra potential to have additional combat resource and the programs are truly ‘Make in India”, capable of generating employment opportunities in the country including MSME and Service sectors. These programs ensure public-private industry participation. There will be a significant spin-off in the form of development of an eco~system for manufacture and in meeting the objectives of “Skill India” initiative in Aerospace and Defence in the country,” said T Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL. The aircraft was on display in 2017 Aero India. The integration of indigenous HUD, RLG based INS and Anti Airfield Missile is in the advance stage, according to HAL. The PSU’s Rotary Wing R&D Centre designed the LCH whereas Mission & Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) designed the Hawk-i in association with the Aircraft Division. HAL’s Light Combat Helicopter launched Arun Jaitley also launched HAL’s Light Combat Helicopter whose basic version has been cleared by CEMILAC. The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of 15 LCH from HAL under IDDM category. HAL designed-twin engine Light Combat Helicopter of 5.8 Ton class features narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot or weapon system operator. The helicopter has indigenous state of the art technologies like the integrated dynamic system, bearing less Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, Armour Protection and Stealth features from visual, aural, radar and IR signatures. The LCH is equipped with 20mm Turret gun, 70 mm Rocket, Air to Air Missile, EO-Pod and Helmet pointing system. The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes. The LCH has demonstrated the capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter.